It has been a great season for Boston Celtics fans. There have been many positive surprises for a team built to contend for years to come. Isaiah Thomas has become the new poster-boy for Boston basketball. He has played like an MVP all season and has shown no signs of slowing down. Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley look like foundation pieces instead of peaking trade assets, and no one wants to play against Marcus Smart.
This team is young, fun and exciting. With the recent injury to Kevin Love, there has never been a better time for the Celtics to jump the Cavaliers. To do that, they are going to need a lot of help from a player not old enough to sip a beer after a victory.
Player A: 7.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.1 apg
Player B: 2.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.3 apg
Player C: 7.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.1 apg
Player D: 8.1 ppg, 4,1 rpg, 2.0 apg
Player E: 5.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.6 apg
Player A is Kawhi Leonard as a rookie.
Player B is Jimmy Butler as a rookie.
Player C is Paul George as a rookie.
Player D is Brandon Ingram this year.
Player E is Jaylen Brown this year.
Off the first look, it doesn’t look like Jaylen Brown has separated himself from the pack, and he hasn’t. But the rookie has done things to make players and coaches around the league take notice of his potential. The kid works his butt off. From the time he was drafted, he has said and done all the right things. He wants to be better, and he can already “add value to winning,” according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
For the last three weeks, Jaylen Brown has been starting in place of the injured Avery Bradley. This has been a huge blessing in disguise for the guys in green. Jaylen Brown’s development is speeding up, all while the Celtics have won 10 of 11 and have emerged as the East’s clear #2 seed. Oh yeah, did I mention the Celtics are the runaway favorite to land the first pick in the draft next year?
The development of Jaylen Brown is crucial to this team’s chances of winning banner 18. There are still flaws to his game. He can get lead-footed on defense. He has trouble finishing strong layups at the rim. He often commits easy fouls and has a hard time avoiding charges. His jumper and shot selection also needs some work. But right now, the Celtics are more focused on what he can do than what he cannot.
He has all the intangibles to become a superstar in this league. He’s a transition monster. When he comes into the paint, he uses his size and athleticism to finesse his way to the rim. He can defend four positions, and he’s shown aggression not commonly found in first-year players. Brown will draw comparisons to Butler and Leonard, but he wants to make a name for himself.
So far, so good.
If he can become the player that he wants to be; the player Boston needs him to be, the Celtics will be successful for a long time.